Leveling A Radiused Nut Slot

Discussion in 'Restoration & Repair' started by JamesB, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

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    I'd like to flatten the bottom of radiused (e.g. Fender) nut slots rather than try to radius-and-perfectly-match the bottom of the nut to a rounded slot... finding it to be easier thought than done, though! Can you guys with more experience offer some tips?...
     
  2. GuitarBuilder

    GuitarBuilder Member

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    Do you own a set of nut files?

    If the guitar has a tremolo you will only make it harder to keep in tune by doing this, by the way. Not recommended.
     
  3. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

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    I do own several. That's interesting about the tremolo. I actually took mine off and decked the bridge, but I'm curious - why is a flat bottomed nut going to make trouble for a tremolo'ed bridge?...
     
  4. GuitarBuilder

    GuitarBuilder Member

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    When using a tremolo the string has to slide freely over the nut with a well-defined contact area. Check out the series by Galeazzo Frudua for more detail:

     
  5. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

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    Oh, now I see that I was misunderstood. I mean the slot in the neck for the nut - not the string slots in the nut:)
     
  6. GuitarBuilder

    GuitarBuilder Member

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    Ah! Sorry about the misunderstanding. Do you have a file that fits the slot width?
     
  7. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

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    Yes, I have Stew Mac's 1/8". More than the issue of flattening the nut slot bottom (I'm realizing that I'm better off buying nuts blanks with radiused bottoms) is doing whatever filing I need to without losing squareness at the bottom. In other words, somehow the file isn't quite reaching into the edges of the slot (where "walls" meet "floor"), resulting in a slot that's a touch narrow at the bottom. The nut won't seat. Any suggestions?...
     
  8. GuitarBuilder

    GuitarBuilder Member

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    Just to confirm: you're using the StewMac 1/8" Nut Seating File? How wide is the nut? Perhaps you should sand it down a little.
     
  9. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

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    Had it tight-fitted already, but now it's loose due to sloppy filing of the nut (not string) slot. Probably looking at shimming now. Thanks anyway for your help.
     
  10. GuitarBuilder

    GuitarBuilder Member

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    You could reduce the nut slot width using some wood filings and wood glue, if necessary.
     
  11. rgraf

    rgraf New Member

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    To answer your question, if you can lay the neck flat, the easiest way for me, would be to use a router plane. Second choice would be a Dremel or a router, making sure to be careful of the sides. Might need to clean it up a bit with a skew chisel. The nut slotting files seem a bit awkward to me. I'd personally just go with rounding the bottom of the nut. It's really not that difficult. Here's a link to a Stew Mac video showing the process: https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onli...p_and_Repair/shaping_a_fender_guitar_nut.html
     
  12. Ray Carlton

    Ray Carlton New Member

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    dont touch the slot - you may find metal at the bottom in the center - oops too late
    buy radiused nuts - use sticky back sandpaper stuck across the neck in front of 1st fret - it is very easy to get that nut to match perfectly
    practice it with nut size bits of maple until you get it right - use bone nuts which cost a few dollars a piece
     
  13. Kenni

    Kenni New Member

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    I really wouldn't touch the nut slot... It would be too much work, and you could end up with a nut slot that is significantly deeper then original, and then it will be a real pain to find some nut who'll fit that... I would go online and find some nut blanks with a curved bottom, they are pretty easy to find, and most of them have all the common radii on the, :)

    Good luck!
    Cheers.
     
  14. hippychip

    hippychip New Member

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    Once you flatten the bottom of the nut slot you have created a nightmare for yourself, and anyone who owns the guitar in the future :(
     

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